January 2022 Legal News Roundup: Law Firm Moves, Hiring & Recognition
Happy 2022 to all of our readers! We hope you all had a safe and healthy New Year. Read on for more legal industry updates.
Recent Law Firm Moves and Hiring
Van Ness Feldman law firm elected three new partners in their Seattle office:
Clara Park who focuses on energy facility reporting, navigates Washington State Environmental Policy Act issues, NEPA issues, and other land use and environmental laws. Ms. Park also serves as Van Ness Feldman’s Pro Bono Co-Coordinator.
Steven Willock assists real estate developers, companies and housing authorities with real estate transactions, development matters and other business issues.
Chris Zentz advises clients in the energy industry with issues regarding renewable resource development, power transaction negotiations and power resources.
"Clara, Steven, and Chris have distinguished themselves not only through their professional accomplishments, but by their relationships with clients and colleagues. They reinforce the firm's collaborative culture,” said Van Ness Feldman Seattle Managing Partner Tadas Kisielius.
Mr. Brutzkus represents consumer product companies in various e-commerce and sourcing issues, and has advised apparel, textile and consumer product clients during various stages of the corporate process.
“SA&M is an excellent platform for me to expand my consumer product practice, particularly because the Firm has unparalleled experience working with venture-backed emerging growth, middle-market public, large technology, and entertainment and digital media companies, as well as investors, venture capital funds, investment bankers, and underwriters. More and more of my clients are asking for ancillary practice areas and specialized attorneys who can help with long term, holistic goals,” said Mr. Brutzkus.
Mr. Rozansky advises corporate clients on various issues including litigation matters, risk avoidance, IP protection, and more. When necessary, Mr. Rozansky handles more high-stakes cases such as infringement issues, contract cases and shareholder disputes.
“This move provides my clients with much needed corporate and M&A expertise, and greatly expands my litigation capacity by joining three renowned litigation partners and several extremely capable litigation associates,” said Mr. Rozansky.
“Mark and Nick share the values that make up our unique and coveted culture at Stubbs Alderton, and we look forward to Mark and Nick making immediate and lasting contributions to our Firm,” said Scott Alderton, SA&M’s Managing Partner.
Gilbert LLP elected Heather Frazier to the firm’s partnership, effective January 1, 2022. Ms. Frazier focuses on insurance recovery in mass-tort proceedings, complex alternative dispute resolution, and other matters. Ms. Frazier has been with Gilbert since 2015.
“I am thrilled to join the partnership at Gilbert alongside the most innovative and dynamic lawyers I have had the fortune to know. I look forward to continuing to contribute to the firm’s growth and unique culture in this new role and assisting our clients in resolving the unresolvable,” said Ms. Frazier.
“In her time with us, Heather has established herself not only as an excellent lawyer, but also as an outstanding Gilbert citizen. She has been a true asset to all of us, serving our clients and our community with talent, dedication and tenacity. We look forward to a long, exciting and mutually satisfying relationship with our newest partner,” said firm founder Scott Gilbert.
Bernstein Shur law firm announced the election of four attorneys to shareholder:
Kevin Decker advises companies on energy project contracts and project development and uses past experience to resolve regulatory proceedings and project disputes.
Suzanne Breselor Lowell represents buyers and sellers in complex commercial and residential real estate transactions, and she has experience in many fields, including solar and wind energy development as well as private-public partnerships.
Beth Smith is a real estate attorney who focuses on renewable energy projects. In addition to her energy practice, Ms. Smith represents entities in a variety of commercial and residential transactions.
“This is an outstanding group of lawyers. They’ve each shown impressive dedication not only to their clients but also to our local communities and the legal profession. I’m confident they will continue to use their deep knowledge and skills to deliver high-quality legal counsel to help our clients meet their business goals,” said Bernstein Shur CEO Joan Fortin.
Legal Industry Recognition and Awards
The firm received multiple awards, including ranking among the Best Performing and Most Active Law Firms in several categories in Patexia Inc.’s 2021 ANDA Litigation Intelligence Report. Polsinelli also ranked among the Best Performing and Most Active Law Firms, which evaluated 243 law firms and 1,471 attorneys on activity and performance within the Hatch-Waxman/ANDA space.
“Our team continues to work hard and provide excellent client service, which is on display as we continue to rank highly in Patexia’s various reports,” said our Intellectual Property Department Chair Pat Woolley. “As one of the nation’s largest IP practices, our commitment to focusing on our clients’ businesses and service needs has again enabled us to earn recognition as one of the best performing firms.”
Dinsmore earned a diversity award from Crain's Cleveland Business in its issue recognizing seven "notable businesses championing diversity and inclusion." Dinsmore recently earned Mansfield Rule 4.0 Certification Plus for the 2021 iteration of the diverse leadership hiring initiative.
The firm also launched a Pre-Law Minority Program to help students of color at four Kentucky universities, as well as creating a fellowship with Procter & Gamble and the Ohio Innocence Project at Cincinnati Law for a recent diverse law school graduate to gain experience in civil rights litigation and policy.
Everyone has a customer in the business world, and the customer population is becoming more diverse," partner Richik Sarkar told Crain's. "Look around your company. If everyone seems the same, especially in leadership, you’ll have a problem serving your customer, and if you don’t take steps to understand your customers, you’ll face failure sooner rather than later.”
Six Wiggin and Dana attorneys are included on the Best Lawyers in America® 2022 Family Law Edition.
They include the following partners:
Robert W. Benjamin – Trust and Estates
Michael T. Clear – Trust and Estates
Daniel L. Daniels – Trust and Estates
Charles C. Kingsley – Trust and Estates
Leonard Leader – Trust and Estates
Carolyn A. Reers – Trust and Estates
And one associate is included on the Best Lawyers 2022 “Ones to Watch” list:
Kaitlyn A. Pacelli – Trust and Estates
Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and the Supreme Court of New Jersey appointed Stark & Stark Shareholder Bhaveen Jani to the Supreme Court of New Jersey to the Supreme Court Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law.
“I am honored to have just been appointed to an important Supreme Court Committee where I will be able to protect the people in New Jersey and the legal profession from the unauthorized practice of law,” said Bhaveen. “Great responsibility comes with being an attorney, especially for our clients and the community, and this committee will work to protect those we serve.”
Mr. Jani’s three year term began January 1, 2022, and will end on December 31, 2024. Mr. Jani is part of a number of professional organizations in New Jersey, which qualified him for the position. These organizations include the New Jersey State Bar Association, the South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey, the New Jersey Association for Justice, the American Association for Justice, the Hunterdon County Bar Association and the Mercer County Bar Association.
The committee performs three major functions, including supplying advisory opinions, inquiry into complaints and investigation of the unauthorized practice of law.
Shumaker attorney Melanie Griffin was appointed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as the Secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). Ms. Griffin has advised businesses in a variety of commercial law issues and also has substantial employment law and trust and estate experience as well. Ms. Griffin has been recognized by many organizations over the years for her outstanding leadership efforts.
“I’m so pleased for Melanie to have this opportunity to service the citizens of the state of Florida,” said Ron Christaldi, Shumaker’s Tampa Managing Partner and President of Shumaker Advisors Florida. “With her depth of experience and her understanding of the business community, she will be an excellent leader of this important state agency.”
Shelli Erffmeyer and Renee Stallions, employees at Varnum LLP, were recently named Unsung Legal Heroes by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. The publication’s award recognizes non-attorney legal professionals who frequently surpass expectations and go above and beyond in their roles. Ms. Erffmeyer, a legal assistant supporting Varnum’s Litigation practice group, has been noted for her outstanding initiative and dedication, especially through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Ms. Stallions, a senior systems applications analyst in the firm’s Information Technology Department, has been noted for her considerable flexibility and work ethic, ensuring Varnum’s technology continues to operate efficiently across all offices.
“Both Shelli and Renee are very deserving of this recognition. Their exemplary service and commitment to the firm was especially appreciated this past year throughout the challenges of the pandemic,” said Scott Hill, Varnum Executive Partner. “As we congratulate Shelli and Renee, we are once again reminded of the vital role of our support staff. Their contributions are critical to the success of our firm.”
Much Shelist, P.C. has announced its new membership in the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance (LFAA). The LFAA, which seeks racial equality and systemic change in the law, helps to coordinate allied law firms in order to enact change that benefits underserved and oppressed communities. Previously, Much has assisted the LFAA in filing an amicus brief before the Supreme Court, which argues that the Court should consider the retroactive application of Ramos v. Louisiana (which holds that non-unanimous jury verdicts are unconstitutional).
“We’re proud to join the nearly 300 Alliance firms working together to address systemic racism in the law,” said Steve Blonder, chair of the firm’s social responsibility initiative, Much Community. “It’s our privilege and our responsibility to continue working for the rights of marginalized people.”
Rachel Popa also contributed to this article.